How Sphero makes robots educational
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How Sphero makes robots educational

Toys & Tabletop Games
[MUSIC] You probably know Sphero as the company behind connected robots like the BB-8, Lightning McQueen, and the Sphero Mini. Coming through Leslie. But now the company is in transition. [NOISE] Making robots that are more about creating than just acting as toys like the new one hundred and fifty dollar bolt. [MUSIC] We're at Sphere's design center in Boulder, Colorado where we got an early look at the Bolt as it was being developed and refined. It's also where the company develops and prototypes new products and... Playful reminders of their greatest hits so far. Sphero's first big product for teachers and students was Spark, where kids can code and learn how to control the robot from the app. And you can start even with no experience. You can just draw lines to get it to move. You can drag blocks through [UNKNOWN] code, or you can actually write the actual code in the text editor. It's really scaleable for really young kids all the way up to University. Bolt is more sophisticated than smart. There's an eight by eight LED matrix that can be programmed to display animations, real time data or even just play a game of snake. If you have multiple Bolts, they communicate in infrared, in a game like Pacman, for example, the ghost ball automatically chases the Pacman ball as you drive it around the room. The ball can find north like a compass and it's also waterproof. Plus, the inducted charging pod gives the battery around two hours of playtime. So we're taking a swing in the pendulum is what we call it here internally. And we don't like to say toys for education anymore. We like to say entertainment and [UNKNOWN] creators. So for awhile we were making entertainment devices, like BBA, R2D2. You know, Lightning McQueen and Spiderman were these, they were amazing products, but they weren't as really focused on being creative. They were focused on interacting with a story. But we learned a lot about robotics through that. We learned a lot about bringing things to life, we learned a lot about characters and people's play patterns. And so we're really happy with our Enterainement value, so what we do entertainment wise, we got really good at that. We also realize that the value for us is building creators. The people who will use our product to make something else. It takes many moving parts to make a rolling robot. This is the electronics room where the products start life. [MUSIC] So this is all the equipment you actually need. Microscopes, I know that sounds crazy to 99% of our, soldering is under microscope, it's all, if you look at these parts on here, you're putting all of these little super tiny pieces on by hand. In this particular space we've built Bolt and Mini. So, both of those all the way through their electrical engineering and define work built in here. This is probably the worse station for any robot to come upon. [LAUGH] This is our electric static testing station. So, this is a ESD gun. It goes at like 50,000 volts or something. What? We put robots on this big metal table, and we shock the crap out of them. Right. But it's important because the robots go through a lot, and you don't want them To create electricity inside of the ball. It was much worse on R2D2. Cuz you have R2D2 sitting her and the little metal pad on him. And they're like [SOUND]. A big part of [UNKNOWN] appeal if how each robot has a different personality, whether that's sounds What do sprinters eat before- Expressions or movements. Bolts doesn't have a speaker, but it is something the company is looking at for future rolling robots. We have some cool samples and prototypes of ways to vibrate the shell to make it become a speaker. A robot ball that can then talk to you, so! Hi Mom! It would just get Amazing, but that's really one that we're still working on there. And Sphero isn't the only one trying to merge cute robots with coding credentials. There's the Vector and Cosmo bots from Anke that have screens to express emotions, plus integrated microphones and speakers so you can talk to them. But Sphero's aiming much more for the classroom than the home. Three, two, one. Go. The company's trying to teach us that having fun and learning isn't mutually exclusive. [LAUGH] You're just too happy, look at that. I don't think you passed the line. I think you win. I win. Well done. I got two. You won fair and square, high five. [SOUND] Yes.

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